Talking about Parenting in English

Hi English learners. Welcome to a new vocabulary lesson. We are going to look at some useful vocabulary you need for talking about parenting in English.

Bring up/ raise a child

Meaning: to look after and care for a child until they are adult.

  • My grandma brought up five children.
  • We were raised in a small town in the north of England.


Meaning: the way a child is raised and taught.

  • Michael’s upbringing was good, his parents taught him to be independent and honest.

Look after a child/baby

Meaning: to care for a child/baby.

  • Martha is going to look after our children while we are away.
  • We took a babysitter to look after our baby while we were at the party.

Talking about parenting in English

Feed/​breastfeed a baby

Meaning: to give food to a baby or when a mother feeds her baby with the milk from her breasts.

  • When our baby was six months old, we started feeding it with blended fruit and vegetables.
  • My wife sometimes wakes up at night to breastfeed our baby.

Go on maternity/​paternity leave

Meaning: to take time off work to be with your baby.

  • Sara is going on maternity leave next week.
  • When his wife gets back to work, Peter will take paternity leave to be with their three-month-old baby.    


Meaning: the state of being a parent.

  • Mary and her husband felt ready for parenthood.

Stay-at-home parent

Meaning: a parent who stays at home with children while the other parent goes to work.

  • My mum was a stay-at-home parent while my dad worked as an engineer.

Talking about parenting in English

Single / lone parent/mother/father

Meaning: a parent who raises a child by himself/herself.

  • Did you know that more than 80 per cent of single/lone-parent families are headed by mothers?

Adopt a ​child

Meaning: to take someone else’s child into your family and become their parent.

  • A football star adopted three children whose parents died in the war.

Adoptive parent

Meaning: a legal parent who adopted a child.

  • Simon’s adoptive parents brought him up.

Foster a child

Meaning: to take care of a child for a limited time.

  • Our neighbours fostered a boy from the orphanage. 

Foster parent

Meaning: a person who fosters a child.

  • After WW2, many orphan children were placed with foster parents.

Biological / birth parent

Meaning: natural parent of a child.

  • After her father died, Tom found out that he wasn’t his biological parent.
  • After he was told that he’d been adopted, Mark tried to find his birth parents.


Meaning: usually refers to divorced parents who share the duty of raising a child.

  • The movie star and her ex-husband were co-parenting a six-year-old boy.

Talking about parenting in English

Now try to use the new vocabulary. Ask and answer the following questions:

1) Were you brought up in the city or the country? 

2) Did your grandparents take part in your upbringing?

3) Do you think it’s all right to breastfeed a baby in public?

4) Are you a parent? How many children have you got?

5) Do you know anyone who is a lone/single parent?

6) Do you think people should give up their jobs and become stay-at-home parents?

7) Do you know anyone who’s adopted a child?

8) Do you know anyone who is a foster parent?

9) Do you think there should be a minimum age for people to become parents?

10) Do you think people spend enough time with their children nowadays?

Talking about parenting in English
Talking about parenting in English

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1 Comment

25 Adjectives to Describe a PARENT - My Lingua Academy · 12 Apr 2023 at 2:57 pm

[…] You will find vocabulary and collocations related to parenting here […]

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